Applicability of the DMU e-Parasitology for teaching cell and parasite culture




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Peer reviewed



De Montfort University (DMU, UK) and the Spanish University of San Pablo CEU (USP-CEU) and Miguel Hernández de Elche, are developing a complete on-line package for teaching and learning medical parasitology, named DMU e-Parasitology ( This novel package includes a virtual laboratory and microscope with a complete library of digitised 2D slides of parasites in clinical samples. Recently, we have been successful in using super-resolution 3D microscopy (3D Cell Explorer; Nanolive, Lausanne, Switzerland), to incorporate 3D microscopic photographs (multiple-viewpoint-holographic images, 96 z-stacks) of fixed cultures, on slides, of important human parasites provided by the Cell Culture Laboratory (USP-CEU). We have also created two e-learning units that show all the practices and procedures of work in a cell and parasite culture unit in conjunction with detailed information and videos of parasitologists working in real conditions with amoebas and Leishmania infantum cultures. These novel resources were tested using a blended approach with final year Biomedical Science and Medical Science students at DMU that voluntarily enrolled to receive practical training in cell/parasite culture provided by an USP-CEU academic through an Erasmus+ mobility grant. Briefly, 2-hour training sessions were delivered, in which students working in pairs were trained how to culture adherent human cancer cells lines, including counting viable vs. dead cells. Twenty-two students attended these sessions; 9 (8 BMS, 1 BMedSci) provided comprehensive feedback. Prior to attending the laboratory session, participants were asked to view the DMU e-Parasitology cell and parasite culture units. 88.9% reported that the e-learning units (22.2% agreed, 66.7% strongly agreed) and the virtual microscopic slides (55.6% agreed, 33.3% strongly agreed) facilitated their learning. Only one student (11%) indicated that the units were difficult to understand. Most students (55.6% agreed, 33.3% strongly agreed) indicated that they learnt basic skills to perform cell/parasite culture. Some students demanded more time to perform the practical, or to deliver it in the first term when they have just started the course. Although preliminary, our results indicate that the methods and resources here detailed could help with the teaching/learning of these important practical topics to any future health scientist.



DMU e-Parasitology, Cell culture, Parasite culture, Training, 3D microscope, Blended learning


Peña-Fernandez, A., Hurtado, C., Evans, M.D., Izquierdo, F., Acosta, L, Llorens, S. (2019) Applicability of the DMU e-Parasitology for teaching cell and parasite culture. XXI Spanish Congress of Parasitology (SOCEPA), Pontevedra, Spain, 3rd to 5th July 2019.


Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)